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Showing posts from October, 2013

How fast are you? Ok, how fast is your internet??

With a week left in October, it'd be awesome if we got more teachers (and students) at our schools to click on the link in the message below to do a free one minute SchoolSpeedTest! It only takes a minute and we'd love to get more data. Thank you for your help!
As we continue our October SpeedTest Month, we'd like to thank all of you that have participated in the School Speed Tests.  So far, we have had over 60% of Maine districts take part, with some schools performing over 150 tests so far!  However, we still have some districts and schools that have yet to take part.  The good news is that there is still plenty of time to do so!  All we're asking is that each school in your district perform 10-20 tests before the end of the month!

As a reminder, participating schools will receive SchoolSpeedTest data that will help find network bottlenecks, support network planning, demonstrate the need for increased connectivity/hardware funding and support your district readiness fo…

Tech. Agenda & Announcements for 10/28-11/1

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(Really, where did October go?)

10/21-10/25 Recap: Last week was a whirl wind with schedules being unpredictable (as always). I attended a workshop on iTunes U on Thursday through MLTI (Check out their awesome workshop calendar here!). I learned a lot and also learned that iTunes U is much easier if you have an iPad. Who knew! I also had the opportunity to attend Scarborough MS's technology workshops on Friday morning. It was a great chance to see how another school does things and to learn just how good we have it with our awesome technology department.

As a slight reminder, I am making every attempt to have a predictable schedule to make it easier for everyone. In general, I am planning to have my scheduled workshops on Monday/Tuesday so the rest of the week can be spent 1:1 with teachers or attending group/team/clan, etc. meetings to serve everyone better. But always check out my calendar to check for the week in question.

Mondays: High School Tuesdays: Middle School Wednesdays:

ACTEM 2103 Keynote

As many of you may have noticed, I was out of the district a couple weeks ago for the ACTEM 2013 conference. Kevin Honeycutt was the keynote speaker and I was incredibly inspired by his keynote address and knew I wanted to share it with our staff as soon as I could. Well, the Nokomis broadcasting team just released the video, so here it is! Please watch it and let me know what you think.

ACTEM 2013 Honeycutt Keynote from Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting on Vimeo. MAINEducation 2013 Keynote - Kevin Honeycutt

Linking within a Google Drive document

Linking within a document in your Google Drive is quite easy! In this screencast, I'll walk you through it.

Meets-Exceeds in IC Gradebook

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I just met with a teacher about how to use the meet-exceeds grading scale when you create an assignment. You can assign the scale to an assignment by changing the "Scoring Type" in the "Assignments" tab when you create (or edit) and assignment.


When you use that "Scoring Type", you can now use letters in your gradebook instead of using numbers. Here are the letters you can use and what percent Infinite Campus will calculate it as:

Gradebook LetterWhat it meansWhat it is calculated asEExceeds97.5MMeets89.5PMPartially Meets78.5NMNot Meeting71.5IIncomplete0PPass69.5FFail0WWithdrawn0

Tech. Agenda & Announcements for 10/21-10/25

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10/15-10/18 Recap: I did a very long post on Friday covering the majority of the issues and questions I had last week from teachers during my classroom visits. Click here to check it out again if you haven't.

One last major point that I will mention from last week is that I have decided to try out a predictable schedule so that everyone knows where they can find me for a while (assuming we have a "normal" schedule during the week).

Mondays: High School Tuesdays: Middle School Wednesdays: Flexible day (watch weekly agenda for school) Thursdays: High School Fridays: Middle School
Here is what is going on this coming week:
Topic of the Week: Starting Your Website with Google SitesDescription: Many teachers requested help with getting their website started when they filled out their tech skills survey. This week I'm going to take it slow and focus on getting the basic framework setup within Google Sites. I will help you set it up and then show you how to create a welcome page for y…

Creating a Shortcut

Crash Plan Pro is an awesome new tool we have this year to automatically backup of our files from our computer just in case things go terribly wrong. But the hitch is that it won't save what is on your desktop. The technology staff has tried and it doesn't seem to do it. So, it is very important that people get in the habit of putting important things in to their documents instead of leaving it on their desktop. A nice and easy way to get to your documents is to make a shortcut, known as an alias on a Mac, on your desktop that would take you right there. Here is a video tutorial I did to walk you through the super easy process.

Classroom Visits Recap

This week my goal was to visit as many teachers in the two schools as possible. I know I didn't make it around to everyone since so many of you are just hard to find, but I certainly put some miles on my shoes trying. Some of the issues were school specific while others were more universal. So I'd like to recap some of the biggies just in case I didn't make it to you.
LanSchool (Middle school specific)If you have students who are not showing up on LanSchool, please make sure that you submit a Tech Help ticket so that technology (meaning Jim) knows to check their computer to make sure that the program is on their computer. Click here to do a help ticket.If you have students who are misbehaving (perhaps deleting LanSchool off of their computer because they've figured out what we use to watch them), it is up to you, as the classroom teacher, to take care of the behavior so that the students are [BE] prepared and [BE] on task. If you have repeat offenders who aren't bei…

Khan Academy Lite

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If you are using Khan Academy in your classroom, you might be fighting with the lack of internet access for some of our kiddos. I just came across Khan Academy Lite today, which was developed by an intern at Khan Academy with the premise that not everyone has internet, but everyone needs education.


If you have students that fall in to this category, I highly recommend checking out. Or, if they are going to go out of town for the weekend or are going on vacation, it would likely be a great option for them, too. Click on the icon above to go there.

Tech. Agenda & Announcements for 10/15-10/18

10/7-10/11 Recap: During Thursday and Friday of last week I was in Augusta for the annual ACTEM conference. It was a busy two days, but I definitely learned a lot to bring back and share with all of you. The keynote speaker was Kevin Honeycutt, who had the conference worth going to all on his own. I am anxiously awaiting his address to be posted online so that I can share it with all of you. It was really inspirational!

10/15-10/8 Agenda: After doing several weeks of workshops, I feel it is important for me to check in with everyone to see how I can serve you better and help you more. So I will be spending a day at each school this week trying to see as many of you as I possibly can so I can try to figure that out. I will be visiting classrooms during your prep times and generally just trying to find you. I will also still have office hours at both schools so you can meet with me one on one (or with your clan, house, team, or any other group) to go over anything you'd like me to te…

How to Record a Screencast

I got an email this morning requesting help with recording a screencast. Since the workshop I'm in right now has to do with Flipped Classrooms, it's the perfect time for me to share some resources to get you started! I like to use screencast-o-matic since it's free up to 15 minutes and is just quick and easy to use. You can find a link to examples that I've done with it by clicking on this link (it also lists the other software I use).

Getting started with it is SUPER easy. Here is a tutorial to get you started:


You can also download and install the software to make it easier and not use plugins. It is really easy to make screencasts with it. Once you make your video, you can publish it to YouTube, to your Google Drive, or just save it on to your computer. I always save the file to my computer and then upload it to YouTube so that I have a backup of it. If you are going to do a short video or are just getting started with screencasting, this is a great place to start. …

Get Ready to Flip!

I'm attending the ACTEM 2013 conference in Augusta for the next two days. One of the hot topics when you filled out my tech skills survey was flipping your classrooms. My first session that I'm attending is about just that with Jessica Dunton from SeDoMoCha Elementary. She made up a great website with tons of resources, which you can find here. But one of the most important things she has stressed is needing to plan and start with easy stuff first. This worksheet, which is intended for you to use, will really help you think about the processes of flipping your content more.

How to Adjust your Quarantine Email Settings

Here is a screencast to walk you through how to adjust your quarantine email settings. The website you need to go to in order to adjust your settings is https://login.postini.com.

What is digital citizenship?

I've been working with a teacher at the high school to research classroom-based rules, acceptable use statements, and various other bits of information to help teachers get a handle on how to manage the laptops in the classroom as well as for the students to get used to appropriate behavior with it. One of the common threads I've found is simply the need to teach our kids to be good digital citizens. I know it seems to be a loaded term, but here is a cool video I found on YouTube to explain it (you don't need the audio on to understand it since all of the information is on the screen).



I'll be sharing more information and resources about it as the year goes along. Are you being a good digital citizen?

WS: Wrangling Your Inbox in Gmail

I will be posting a written tutorial as soon as possible, but here is a screencast of my workshop information for this week. Don't let your inbox overwhelm you. Wrangle that beast!

How to Add Attachments to Google Calendar Events

Last week I met with a teacher at the middle school to help her update her website a bit and embed her Google Calendar on to it so that she could post her homework assignments for her classes on it easily. It's a great way to have an up to date website without having to edit your actual site every day.

I just came across this YouTube video in my Twitter feed that walks you through how to add attachments to events. If you are using a calendar for assignments then this may be a good addition to it!

How to Post Grades and Comments in IC Gradebook (Beta)

With the high school and middle schools working on posting grades lately, there have been a flurry of requests for help. For those of you who have been using gradebook (beta), like I've been suggesting, you'll notice that past guides on how to post grades don't match up to what you see. So I went through and created a new guide on how to post grades and comments and did a screencast to walk you through it for those of you who do better not following written directions. Both can be seen below and are posted in under the "Resources & How To Guides" tab above for future reference.




If you don't see the Google Document, click on this link to open it in a new window.

What Happens When You Post Midterm Grades in IC Beta

Doing Math Equations/Homework Online

For those of you who met with me to learn how to accept student work products through Infinite Campus thus week, you might be wondering if you can do it if you teach math. I've been looking in to all kinds of different options to have the students write out equations on their computer and there are really are a ton of them. But I found that the Daum Equation Editor App in Google Chrome is a really great looking tool that lets your kids export the equation as an image, text, or in to their Google Drive. Here is a screencast to walk you through how to install it. If you don't have Google Chrome, you can find it in the Web category on Self Service.


I'd love to hear your thoughts if you use it in your class!

Tech. Agenda & Announcements for 10/7-10/11

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9/30-10/4 Recap: With the testing schedules at both schools this week, I know everything has been extra crazy for everyone and, as such, learning anything new seems overwhelming. If I ever cover a topic during a week that is just too crazy for you, just let me know and we can cover it together during my office hours when it is convenient for you. Or, if you have a group meeting and you think it would be beneficial for me to cover something with all of you, that would be awesome! I am ready and willing to help everyone in any way I can.

Note for the HS: I have officially moved my desk down to room 109 in the corner by the windows. So that's my new home here. Any time that I offer workshops or if you want to meet with me in a bigger group, I will be using the AV room next door.


Here is what is going on during next week in my world, October 7th through the 11th:
TOPIC OF THE WEEK: WRANGLING YOUR INBOXDescription: In today's digital world, your inbox has likely become something you…

WS: IC Student Work Products

This week, September 30th to October 4th, I wanted to keep my focus on Infinite Campus and look at how to use it to your advantage to accept student work (student work products as IC calls them) right within the student portal. The advantages are numerous, but the key ones in my mind are:

No need to set up a more formal online learning environment (OLE) because every student already has a login, as do you.Reduction of the amount of work that you need to bring back and forth from home to school or lug around the school since everything is submitted electronically.Reduce the amount of time you spend at the photocopier (and, therefore, the amount of paper you use) since all of your materials can be passed out via the portal.No more excuses from your students that they forgot the handout, left their homework at home... the list goes on. Here is the document that I used this week to guide my workshop. I created it use Glogster, which is basically a digital poster with lots of bells and whis…

How to Share through Google Drive (and Save Yourself Time at the Copier)

I'm working with a teacher at the middle school to help save her from her pile of photocopying and grading. One of the easiest things you can do to save yourself time is simply share a folder in your Google Drive with your class. In this screencast, I'll walk you through how to do it with ease.

Teachers Love Technology

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This morning I came across this infographic from OnlineUniversities.com via EdTechReview on one of the Google+ Communities that I regularly frequent. What I love about it is how short term the data span is and how quickly things are changing. We're come a long way in the past couple years! (Click on the infographic to make it bigger and to go to the original source.)


Please Include Attribution to OnlineUniversities.com With This Graphic

How to Scan Using the Copying Machines

With all of the students in the middle and high schools with laptops, our need to copy should be going down a ton. If you already have something on paper and you want to get it out to your students, the easiest thing to do it scan it with the copiers and make it in to a PDF that you can then share through email, Google Drive, etc. Here is a Google Document that I made to walk you through how to do it. Instead of hitting print to have a printed copy of them, I would just bring your laptop with you and follow along on your screen as you go through each step. It is so easy that you'll get the hang of it in no time and then you won't need the directions!

If the document does not load for you, please click here to open it in a new window.

STEM Game from MIT

I've been exploring the idea of gamification in the classroom, which basically means turning our lessons in to something that is fun and engaging for our students. While reading a TON of resources, I came across this sneak preview of Radix from MIT that is geared towards high school STEM students. They are going to be starting a public pilot phase of it this fall. It sounds really awesome!



What do you think? I would LOVE it is a teacher in our district got going on this. Heck, if you do, please let me know and I'd love to help you out in any way I can and to be a guinea pig for you should you need one. More information about Radix can be found on the MIT website here. I've subscribed to updates to see where it goes from here.

Unlearn a Word in Spellcheck

Have you ever made the mistake of saving a misspelled word during spell check instead of correcting it? If so, you are definitely not alone. Here is a quick screencast to show you how to unlearn the word that you've taught your computer.

If you don't have Principal's Notes, Staff Talk, etc.

If you don't have access to Principal's Notes, Staff Talk, Swap & Sell, etc. for some reason, here is a screencast to walk you through how to request to get those emails. In the future, I'll show you how to set up filters on your gmail so that your inbox doesn't get flooded. :)